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Visit Imprisoned

To Visit the Imprisoned

To Visit the Imprisoned

The corporal works of mercy are those actions that the Church calls on us to perform towards the welfare of the physical person. One of the seven corporal works of mercy is to visit the imprisoned. This month of February, the Pope's universal intention, that is to say the intention that the Pope asks all of us to remember in our prayers, is for prisoners, "That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity."

The corporal works of mercy are those actions that the Church calls on us to perform towards the welfare of the physical person. One of the seven corporal works of mercy is to visit the imprisoned.  This month of February, the Pope's universal intention, that is to say the intention that the Pope asks all of us to remember in our prayers, is for prisoners, "That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity."

Those who are incarcerated are human beings with the dignity and worth inherent in every person, each made in the image and likeness of God. Prison ministries bring the mercy of God to those who have fallen into crime, and offer them an invitation to conversion and reparation. They offer friendship to isolated and vulnerable human beings, and lend that helping hand so necessary in rebuilding lives once they are released. Not everyone can physically visit the imprisoned, but we can lend our charitable support and our prayers. One of the first conscious acts of mercy towards the imprisoned that St. Therese, the "Little Flower" committed at the young age of thirteen, was to pray and offer sacrifices for the Confession of a murderer.  St. Therese learned that the man had lifted his head from the guillotine to kiss the Crucifix three times before his execution, and she believed her offerings contributed to his final repentance.

Not all who are imprisoned are rightly accused. There is a priest, Fr. Gordon MacRae, who has remained in a New Hampshire prison for over twenty years, unjustly accused and unwilling to agree to false "plea bargains" requiring him to admit to guilt that is not his. His story has been told nationally and he writes a blog entitled "These Stone Walls; Musings from Prison of a Priest Falsely Accused."   http://thesestonewalls.com/  In a recent post, Fr. MacRae quotes Pope Francis as saying, "I once read that priests are like airplanes. They only make news when they crash, but there are many that fly."  As we join our prayers with the Pope's for his universal intention for prisoners, let us remember also those who are unjustly imprisoned, especially priests such as Fr. MacRae.

Nancy Arey

February 15, 2015

 

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